Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao should declare his intent to run for the presidency in the May 2022 elections in the coming months, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, his partymate in the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban), said on Thursday.
But Pimentel said it would be best if Pacquiao, a boxer-turned-lawmaker, would soon make up his mind soon and announce his political plans.
“He has been preparing for this possibility. He has many ideas and he has been explaining many of his ideas as his program of government and there are many people from different sectors of our society and different socio-economic classes who have pledged support to him,” Pimentel said in an interview on ANC’s Headstart.
“For what position di ko alam (I don’t know) but they are there, consulting with him, telling him their problems, sharing with him, dialoguing with him,” he said.
“This is the leader that we need, the president that we need. Number 1, he is one who has a plan for the country, who has the right heart. It’s time to look at the heart eh, in the right place, the right motivation, the right feelings and emotions,” the lawmaker added.
But if Pacquiao is bent on gunning for the highest government position, he should declare early.
“So if he will listen to me, if you want to run for President, declare na in August or September, di pwedeng i-delay pa masyado yan (You can’t delay that),” he said.
Pimentel said he will support Pacquiao should he choose to run for president, being a member and official of the ruling political party.
“The greatest asset of Manny Pacquaio—given the difficulties which our country is undergoing right now, and our people, poverty is still widespread—is that he has seen the different levels of economic situation in the lives of human beings. Dinaanan niya lahat yun, (he experienced all of that),” he said.
“So pag sinabi nya alam ko nararamdaman ninyo, kung gutom kayo or wala kayong makuhang trabaho, tama yun alam niya so ngayon, yung puso (niya) nasa tamang lugar. Kasi nga gusto niyang i-solve yung problema nay un eh (So when he says I can feel what you feel, if you’re hungry or you have no jobs, he knows how they feel. Because he has the heart. His heart is in the right place. Precisely because, he wants to solve the problem),” he said.
Pimentel expressed belief Pacquiao is a good choice to be a standard-bearer for the PDP-Laban.
“I think he will be a good choice of the party to push for President. Pero gaya ng sinabi ko running should be voluntary and the person should be wiling to run for that particular position,” he said.
But should President Duterte, the PDP-Laban’s party chairman, decides not to choose Pacquiao, Pimentel said the party will respect his decision.
“We have prepared a process in the party, according to party constitution, there will be some formality. It’s not one person choosing,” he said.
“But if there is a person who would be dissatisfied with the party’s nominee and cannot live with it, then maybe we can part as friends. Ganun talaga eh (That’s how it is),” he said.
“You can join the other parties. And then support their candidates, di dapat masama ang loob namin dun, kasi meron kaming kandidato eh (We can’t hold any grudge over that, because we have our own candidate anyway),” he pointed out.